Take advantage
of my archives!

Visit my hangouts in:

Brands I've
Loved Forever

How to get more luxury from your vacation without spending a lot – Part 4 of 6 from Gary Leff

May 3rd, 2013 4 Comments

 Hundred dollar bil

Gary’s Tip #4: Tipping Works

If you haven’t done it yourself, you’ve heard about people “greasing the guy” to get something better, faster, harder, longer, you get the idea.  I know this seems like an amateur move, but when it comes to hotels, it works.

I once checked into the “full-committed” Bellagio, and knowing what I know, was sure there were better rooms for my wife and I to rest our heads in while in Vegas.  So when I handed over my credit card to the front desk clerk at check in, I did so with a $100 bill tucked underneath.  I was staying four nights, and simply said, “I was wondering if you had any upgrades available?  I’d love one of the big penthouse suites.”  She saw the $100 and started typing.  We ended up in the lap of luxury with two bedrooms and  FIVE bathrooms!  The average nightly cost to me? $25 for the upgrade on my $139 rate booked through American Express Fine Hotels & Resorts which already included free breakfast.

If she couldn’t have done anything I’d have taken back the $100.  If all she could have offered was a fountain view, I’d have swapped it for a $20.  You can’t do this everywhere, but tipping big in Vegas made me feel like Frank Sinatra.  Word is that it works in New York as well, but don’t try it in Tokyo — tipping is offensive in Japan!

(MR note: I have to say, I’m not sure how you would ask for your money back…but if you said so Gary, I would walk off a cliff so I’ll stand with you on this one.)

For other posts in this series and more tips from Gary, click here.  If you travel often, follow his blog for regular tips and current deals.  The man is an expert at discovering loopholes, online mistakes the airlines and hotels have to honor, and how to manipulate the fine print. You can feel free to tweet him questions @GaryLeff.  He’s super sweet so don’t be shy.

Tweet this!Tweet this!
  • hansmast

    Ask for your money back by saying: Could I get change for that $100 I gave you?

  • User Name

    Stupid, stupid race to the bottom. Before long you’ll have to pony up to get anything done.

  • OldFlyer

    I have had success doing the same thing at different resorts in the big island of Hawaii, Kaui and Maui. Unlike Gary’s technique I have always put the $100 in an envelope when I hand over my credit card so others won’t see it. Sounds like that isn’t necessary. Lastly, while this is sexist, I find men more willing than women to accept the money, so I wait for a man to check me in. They always asked me to take a seat to see what they can find. One time it didn’t work, but the desk clerk brought me back my envelope with the money and apologized that he didn’t have what I wanted available unless I was willing to split my nights between a different room & a suite, wihch I chose not to do.

  • Kalboz

    American Express Fine Hotels & Resorts website is only available to US Platinum Card members and Centurion members.